Phone capturing a mouthwatering menu item as part of effective social media marketing for restaurants

Wondering how to drum up support and get people excited about your restaurant or food truck? One of the quickest, cheapest, simplest ways is to dive into social media marketing for restaurants. In this article, learn how to create a social media marketing strategy, get ideas about what to post, and learn best-practices to save your time and sanity! Let’s get started.

First things first: Is the experience of cooking at home the same as cooking in your food truck or restaurant kitchen? Not even close! 

Cooking at home is leisurely and totally up to you and your preferences. Cooking for the public is a whole different ball game: stringent rules and regulations, varying preferences and appetites, not to mention that whole aspect of selling what you’ve made… 

Social media is similar. Using social media for entertainment or connecting with family and friends is WILDLY different than using social media marketing for a restaurant. But, like most things, it’s a skill you can learn and, when applied properly, makes a tremendous difference for your business.

How much of a difference? Let’s look at some stats. In general, people are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow on social media, and one study found that roughly 45% of diners tried a restaurant for the first time because they saw it on social media. 

The numbers don’t lie: you need strong social media marketing for your restaurant. 

Where should you start? Here’s how focusing on social media marketing for restaurants will show off your food, your brand, and what you have to offer your community.

Best platforms for restaurant social media marketing

A key part of any social media strategy for restaurants includes choosing the platforms you’ll post on. You can’t reasonably be on every single platform—there are just too many to manage and create quality content for. 

Instead, focus on the social media platforms where your posts will have the most value. Think about who your customer is and where they’re likely to be on the internet.

To cover more territory without trying to be on every single platform, most restaurants focus on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. This way you cover your bases without spreading yourself or your staff too thin when it comes to actually creating the content. After all, you have a restaurant to run!

Here are a few tips for each of these platforms to make sure you’re making the most of them: 

Instagram for Restaurants

First things first, when you’re creating your Instagram account for your restaurant, make sure you start it as a business account — not a personal or creator account. Remember the intention is to use social media marketing for your restaurant business, not just for yourself.

A business account on Instagram will give you access to different features that make social media marketing for restaurants (and businesses in general) easier, like call to action buttons, the ability to run ads from your account, and more analytics. 

Next up, setting up your bio. Instagram is by nature a visual platform, so your photos and videos should do the talking. Your bio should be a short and snappy way to let potential customers know who you are, where you’re located, and reinforce your brand voice and personality. 

Instagram also gives you the option to include a link in your bio; this is the perfect place to link out to your website where people can see your restaurant menu, find your exact address, and buy gift cards.

Check out Sweet Home Coffee on Instagram for some inspiration!

Advertisement of Sweet Home Coffee's Vanilla Cold Brew Latte, a tempting choice for social media marketing in the restaurant industry
Efficient social media marketing for restaurants: Sweet Home Coffee's barista serving iced coffee through the drive-through

Facebook for Restaurants

Facebook is a key part of social media marketing for restaurants, even if Gen Z doesn’t hang out there. Tons of people will find your restaurant’s Facebook page when they search your name, so you want to make sure they get all the relevant information once they get there. 

Similar to Instagram, make sure that your Facebook page is created as a business page, not a personal one. Again, you’ll get access to an ads manager and more analytics than in a personal page, and it’ll look more polished and professional for someone landing there. 

Once your page is live, make sure you fill in all the relevant information, like your address, your hours, and your website. 

When it comes to social media marketing for restaurants, Facebook is more of a utilitarian platform than Instagram or TikTok. People are on those video-centric platforms looking for aesthetics and pleasing images, but usually they’re using Facebook to confirm where you are and when you’re open. You don’t need to over-complicate this platform! 

Another easy thing you can do to customize your Facebook page and show off your brand personality is to create a custom cover image. This image can highlight your cuisine, your hours, and location. TableNeeds can help you create this image if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Head over to Bagel Boy Foley on Facebook for more ideas!

Bagel Boy's Facebook page showcasing effective social media marketing for restaurants in Foley and Gulf Shores, AL
Bagel Boy's Foley location courtyard, showcasing effective social media marketing for restaurants
Bagel Boy's enticing Facebook post: The Italian Job bagel and delightful cinnamon rolls, showcasing social media marketing for restaurants

TikTok for Restaurants

Another key piece of social media marketing for restaurants, TikTok has taken the internet by storm in recent years. Video is essential on this platform, so if you’re not in a place to consistently film and post videos, it may be better to hold off on TikTok. 

When you’re setting up your business account on TikTok (notice our theme here?) make sure you’re maximizing the limited bio space. You can keep it simple and link out to your website, but if you have multiple links you want to include for people, you can use a tool like LinkTree to collect them, while still keeping your bio clean and easy to read. 

See Miss George’s Grilled Cheese on TikTok for inspo!

TikTok video: Miss George's Grilled Cheese presents a mouthwatering dessert grilled cheese sandwich, showcasing effective social media marketing for restaurants
TikTok video: Miss George's Grilled Cheese presents a mouthwatering buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich, showcasing effective social media marketing for restaurants
Miss George's Grilled Cheese TikTok video: Transformation before and after COVID, highlighting effective social media marketing for restaurants

Social media marketing ideas for restaurants

Once you choose and create your social media accounts for your restaurant or food truck, you have to actually create and post content on those platforms. Here are a few social media marketing ideas for restaurants to make that task seem a bit less daunting: 

  • Food pics: This one should be a no-brainer—show off the amazing food you’re creating.
  • Menu highlights: Especially if you have a seasonal menu that changes more frequently, make a splash about those changes on social media. This will generate buzz about your new menu items and encourage people to come in and try them. 
  • Behind the scenes: Show off your staff at work, what it takes to open or close a restaurant, and other parts of running your business your customers don’t usually get to see. This makes you relatable, and since you have to do all those things anyway in the course of your day, get some free content out of it! 
  • Employee highlights: Show your staff some love by featuring one employee per video or post. Share what they do at the restaurant and some fun facts about them: where they’re from, their favorite book/show/movie, or what they love about their job. 
  • User generated content (or UGC): These kinds of posts are created by your customers and posted on your social media platforms. They’re a good form of social proof, and can help show off your food, your culture, and your customer base all at the same time. Ask your regulars if they’d be interested in creating some social media posts for you, or offer the chance to do so in a raffle or giveaway. People will probably jump at the chance to participate and show their favorite local spot some love. 

These are just a few social media ideas for restaurants—there are tons more! Get creative, and think about what kind of posts feel the most authentic to you. At the end of the day, you want to create social posts that feel real and show off who you really are. 
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at where to start with your social media marketing for your restaurant, Table Needs can help. Table Needs Marketer makes it easy to create, post, and manage all your digital marketing in one place. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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